Mayor Alan Webber’s plan to reorganize city government has created a deep divide in Santa Fe’s “governing body” – the eight-member City Council plus the mayor.
Three councilors – Renee Villarreal, Michael Garcia and JoAnne Vigil Coppler – have been steadfast in their criticism of the reorganization that will bring together various city agencies into three “super departments” and greatly reduce the number of directors who report directly to the city manager.
The critics accuse the Webber administration of trying to rush through the reorganization without transparent public vetting or input from city workers, including those affected by pandemic-era furloughs. Webber’s budget for the fiscal year assumed the reorganization was a fait accompli before the council had a vote.
Webber says the new layout will eliminate silos in city government and increase efficiency in city services, and that Santa Fe’s budget crisis, caused by the COVID-19 economic recession, created both the need and an opportunity for significant change.